HUFSplay put on the 150th play “Out At Sea” in BRICs Hall (first floor, Graduate School building), Seoul Campus on March 16 and 17. According to the director Lee Yong-soo “Out At Sea” is like a miniature version of our society. People move, think and live in line with what society wants them to do. In the end, the irony is that we cannot fully enjoy our own world and thoughts, and wish to live, and become blind. He said that through this play he was hoping that people would have the opportunity to look back on how they exist in this society and how they are spreading their thoughts. The Argus watched how HUFSplay staged this profound play.
HUFSplay is a play club at HUFS. Since 1968, HUFSplay showcased a total of 150 plays. These are the posters of their plays. Their names are from the right: “Out At Sea,” “Jang-gun Supermarket," "10-minute-theater,” and “Catch the Rat & Unusual Roommates”, respectively. They gather to practice acting for two days a week.
The members of HUFSplay included: Park Seong-eun (Planner), Lee Yong-Soo (Director), Cho Hyunjin (Assistant Director), Moon Ja-hyeon (Sound Supervisor), Yong Woo-joong (Lighting Director), Baek Gyeongtae, Kim Chai-hyeon, Eom Jeong-yeon, and Lee Suk-min (Actors).
Out At Sea
A black comedy named “Na pelnym morzu(1961)” by Slawomir Mrozek.
The play begins on a raft floating in the middle of the sea, with three neatly dressed survivors who are starving, the fatty, the normy, and the lanky. When the food run out and they are starving to death, the three agree to eat one of the three. When the victim is not elected by an election, the fatty and the normy are concerted and it is decided that they will eat the lanky. They present all kinds of lies in order to make sure that the lanky accepts their sacrifices. The lanky attempts to endure to the end. But he falls to the temptation of the fatty and the normy, gradually assuming his sacrifice is needed. The lanky eventually ends up believing that his decision is great and holy.
On Saturday, after the second performance at 4 p.m., HUFSplay began to prepare for the third concert, an hour before the performance.
They were ready to perform the play with their cell phones turned off. Wondering why they were working so hard, The Argus reporter asked the members of HUFSplay what the play means to them.
Moon Ja-hyeon, who is in charge of sound, said, “I think it is an opportunity for me to see my real self. And it is time to join with my HUFSplay people.”
The actor Eom Jeong-yeon, who played a postman and a servant said, “HUFSplay has influenced me a lot. I am confident that I have become a better person now than when I first entered HUFSplay, because I became acquainted with another aspect of myself; I became confident; I matured in many ways; and I received a lot of good input from HUFSplay people.”
Each person felt or interpreted the play a little bit differently, but they were all spending the present time with one goal in mind - the goal to complete the play performance successfully.
The reporter asked HUFSplay people what they did especially for this play.
Yong Woo-joong who was in charge of lighting, replied, “I focused mainly on expressing the sea with a blue light on the edge, as if the raft on the sea was the background.”
Actor Kim Chai-hyeon, who played the normy in this play, said “We did not ask for help from our seniors, but we tried very hard to do everything on our own. We tried to make the offer, prepare the stage, and analyze the script by ourselves.”
Their rehearsal plan was to stay calm together before the performance. They kept on talking to one another and gave each other feedback to make the final performance better. Everyone seemed to have the same perspective as Park Seong-eun who thinks that the biggest attraction of a play is to do the hard work ‘together.’
The reporter then talked with Moon Ja-hyeon. When the reporter asked how she feels now about the play, she replied “I’m a little carefree now, but now I think actors will be the most nervous.”
As she said, it was the actors who seemed to be the most on edge. The actors were practicing their scripts on the stage or under the stage; the presence of stage lighting did not seem to be important to them. The actors who memorized the dialogue and match the scenes on the dark stage, seemed to laugh and play with each other, but they were concentrating on their roles as precisely as possible.
Fifteen minutes before the start of the play, all the members of HUFSplay climbed onto the stage, put their hands together and shouted “Fighting!”
Park Seong-eun came out on stage and told the audience how the play would progress. After she returned to her seat and there was a setting change, the last performance of the 150th play began.
The play was centered around the conversation of three main characters on stage. When they knew there was no food on the raft, the fatty and the normy seemed determined to eat the lanky. As they dressed neatly, they tried to convince the lanky to give them a good reason to eat him. They first tried to select victims through elections. However, the lanky tore the ballot and made two, and there were three people, and four votes came out, so the election failed.
Next, the fatty appealed to their sense of pity, saying that he is an orphan. The normy also said he was an orphan too. But the lanky said his mother was alive. Because they are orphans, the two both claimed that it is right for the lanky to be eaten. Yet when the ‘orphans’ were determined to eat him, a postman appeared. The postman gave the lanky a telegram, which the lanky then read, giving an exclamation of joy.
At that time, the audience burst into laughter more than ever. They were aware of the contents of the telegram that he had received, and the meaning of his exclamation. The telegram contained news of his mother’s death, and he subsequently laughed, to his great relief, that he was orphaned rather than being sad for the sorrow he had lost his mother.
Satire continued after that. After the postman left the stage, the same actor appeared on stage again as the servant Jan. She told them that the fatty was not an orphan, and that he was not poor. When the lanky heard this news, he rebelled, and the fatty then denied it. The normy pretended not to know. He continued to push his argument until the fatty denied it, but when the woman was won over to the fatty’s side, he resigned himself to his fate. He began to convince himself from then on. He did not want to be a victim, but they did not listen to him and urged him to allow them to eat him. So in the end, he chose to persuade himself, not being influenced by the others at all.
When the lanky was making his final remarks before his death, the normy found the remaining food in a bag belonging to the fatty, and the fatty seemed to know the food was there. Acting as if it did not matter if the food was present, the fatty turned the normy’s attention to the lanky. The fatty then said that the lanky was already a noble victim and loves himself, so nothing else matters. Thereafter, the stage became dark, ending the play.
The three main characters are named “fatty," “normy,” and “lanky,” labeled based on adjectives, without their own name on the script. The reasoning behind this is that they are people who are not special in any way, similar to people audience members often see around us. The fatty represents a dictator who reigns over the people based on strength and power, while the normy is satisfied with the minimum share of returning and living in the mechanism of power and obeying and adapting to the oppression and domination of the system. The lanky represents a helpless intellectual who is less capable of understanding the dynamics of the theory, preceded by speech rather than the practice.
Park Seong-eun said that the main content of this play is a ludicrous occurrence in which the main characters struggle to find justification for their actions in a barbaric situation where human beings are forced to eat human beings.
When the play ended, the actors and the audience took pictures together on the stage. The reporter asked the audience members how they felt while they watched the play.
Kim Seong-jeong, Ewha Womans University ‘17, who came to see her actor friend, exclaimed, “I felt the play was profound. They were amateur actors, but it seemed excellent to me, and the awkwardness itself felt fine.”
When the reporter asked what they felt when he saw the play, Lee Yeon-woo and Lee Seo-woo, who came to see the play because they too are friends with one of the actors in the play, said “We felt the selfishness that human beings are capable of when they were exposed to extreme circumstances.”
After the audience left, HUFSplay began to dismantle the stage: the actors, directors, and the planner, together with all of the HUFSplay people, removed the stage together and took down the posters.
The reporter asked the actors about their feelings regarding their last performance. Eom Jeong-yeon said “We practiced for two months of vacation. I am glad that the last performance was well done.”
Actor Kim Chai-hyeon stated, “I thought that I would be able to feel relieved after the performance, but I feel a sense of frustration as I get ready to go home and think about it. So, I think that I am going to perform again.”
Actor Lee Suk-min, who played the lanky in this play, seemed particularly sad. “It is hard to express your testimony as an adjective. My heart hurts. I want to do more. I regret that I couldn’t remember the script faster and always do better. It seems to be addictive,” said Lee. He described that feeling as seeming like a vicious circle of sorts, but he seemed to be committed to acting again in another play.
Director Lee Yong-soo replied to the reporter asking about the goal he was trying to achieve through the play. Lee said, “The team got to know each other well, the audience understood the paintings we made, the play kept safe, and people made memories that are unforgettable to everyone. Yes, we are all done.”
It seemed as if the HUFSplay troupe couldn’t be fully satisfied, but they did well enough in the end.
Now we know about the play “Out At Sea” and HUFSplay. HUFSplay acted out this play to tell the audience the meaning in the play. What message did they want to tell us? In the middle of the sea, we could see our reality. We are all the fatty, the normy, and the lanky. We need to think about where we are in this society and how we should live with each other.
By Han Byeong-ji
Reporter of National Section